First page of the Design archive.

Photograph Essay of the 2016 Pellet Stove Design Challenge

Posted by Earth Stove on May 1, 2016 with No Commentsas , , , , , ,
Patricia Fritz of the NY Office of Wellness and
Dr. Barbara Panessa-Warren, a nano particle skilled
from Brookhaven. &nbspTheir panel was a single of the most appreciated!
Dave Atkins, moderator of the wood stove retrofit panel,
introducing Jeff Hollowell, a retrofit builder.
Stove set up and set-up prior to the celebration. (Norbert Senf)
Marius Wöhler came from Germany to share ordeals of BeReal, a
European&nbspround&nbsprobin tests task&nbspand a multi-yr&nbspEuropean
&nbspUnion funded study of how people in fact use their stoves at home. (AGH)&nbsp
Geoffrey Johnson and the Torrefire Pellet Stove. (BNL)
SUNY Buffalo college students (from left: Kevan Darmawan, Kyle Hinman,
and Steven Widdis) making use of the Testo 320. (BNL)
The VibraStove, invented and
&nbspdesigned by Stephen Spevak.&nbsp
A drawing of what the PELLWOOD, first place winner, by Wittus,
could search like when it goes to marketplace. (Wittus)

Geoffrey Johnson, inventor of the Torrefire stove, with Jytte
&nbspIllerup, a Danish&nbspresearcher and Ricardo Caravahlo, a
Portugese&nbspPh.D. pupil from Denmark. (AGH)

Mark Knaebe, from the US Forest Support and John Crouch,&nbspfrom
HPBA&nbspat the automatic twine wood stove panel. Ben&nbspMyren
&nbspwas&nbsppresenting the VcV valve technologies via telephone. (AGH)&nbsp
The Alliance for Inexperienced Heat staff: Board members Dave Atkins,
Jonathan Kays, and Norbert Senf with AGH President John
Ackerly&nbspin blue and staff member Gabriella McConnel. (AGH)
René Bindig, a member of the initial
area&nbspteam,Wittus – Fire by Design and style.
Craig McKim of Testo, &nbspdiscussing
&nbsp tests methods with the SUNY Buffalo crew. (AGH)
Tom Butcher and Rebecca Trojanowski, biomass tests
&nbspexperts from Brookhaven Nationwide Laboratory. (AGH)
John Ackerly and Gabriella McConnel, of the Alliance for
&nbspGreen Warmth,&nbsppresenting&nbsptwo of the commercial
demonstration stoves. (Norbert Senf)

Invoice Clark of the Osprey Basis (proper) exhibits off the
Mimi Moto, an extremely thoroughly clean pellet fired cook dinner stove
that he distributes in Africa. (AGH)

Norbert Senf of the Masonry Heater
Affiliation presenting results on PM
&nbsprepeatability testing. (AGH)
Judges conference ahead of the Closing Ceremony. &nbspFrom the remaining:
&nbspRebecca Trojanowski, Mark Knaebe, Tom Butcher, Ray
Albrecht, Ellen Burkhard and Phil Hopke. (Norbert Senf)&nbsp
Stephen Spevak, inventor of the VibraStove, explaining
&nbsphis design and style to the learners of SUNY Buffalo. &nbsp(AGH)
Staff Wittus – Fireplace by Layout, seconds right after listening to
the information that they gained very first place. (AGH)
Rebecca Trojanowski, Craig McKim, Geoffrey Johnson,
and Mark&nbspKnaebe admiring&nbspthe testo design able of
measuring PM. (Norbert Senf)
Scott Williamson, Pelletstoveservice.com,
touching on&nbspthe greatest and worst of
&nbspinnovation&nbspin the pellet stove industry. (AGH)
Jock Gill, representing Jerry Whitfield,
talking about the heritage of pellet stoves
and the potential of biochar. (AGH)
Dr. Joseph Mollendorf, advisor to the SUNY Buffalo team,
&nbspspeaking on the automation and controls
&nbsphis students are doing work on. (Norbert Senf)
Adam Baumgart-Getz of EPA with Geoffrey
Johnson and the Torrefire stove,&nbspwhich
&nbspburns torrefied wood pellets. (AGH)
2nd and initial area teams congratulating every single other
(From still left: Vance Hirst Sr., Vance Hirst Jr., and
Vance Hirst III of Group Seraph&nbspand Niels Wittus and
&nbspRené Bindig of Crew Wittus – Fireplace by Style) (AGH)
Alliance for Environmentally friendly Heat personnel (correct) congratulating Niels Wittus and
&nbspRené Bindig, who received first area at the 2016 Pellet Stove Style Challenge.

Heated Up!

Rookie Wood Stove Makers Get Highest Score in Design Workshop

Posted by Earth Stove on July 22, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , ,

Taylor Myers and Ryan
Fisher with the Mulciber,
the highest ranking stove.
A stove designed and built by graduate engineering students received the 
highest score in an international Stove Design Workshop focused on automated wood stove technology.  The goal of the event was to assess innovative technologies that can help stoves reduce real-world emissions that result from poor operation by the consumer and use of unseasoned wood, both of which are widespread problems. 

Ten judges scored the stoves based on emissions, efficiency, innovation, market appeal and safety.  The highest scoring stove, the Mulciber, adapted emission control techniques that are in automobiles, such as an oxygen sensor that controls the fuel-to-air ratio, a continuously engaged catalyst and an exhaust gas fan.  The Mulciber was also tested with unseasoned, 50% moisture content wood and performed quite well.   The team, who had never built a stove before the 2013 Wood Stove Decathlon, overhauled their first prototype and have now formed the company MF Fire to bring the stove to market.  

The Workshop was held at the DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and brought together a diverse range of stakeholders – students, professors, industry, regulators, air quality experts – who spent a week together analyzing the problems and solutions to residential cord wood emissions.

Five stoves competed in the event, which is part of the ongoing Wood Stove Design Challenge run by the non-profit group, Alliance for Green Heat. In 2013, the Design Challenge hosted the Wood Stove Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington DC, a high profile event modeled after the Solar Decathlon.  This year, the event was at a lab so that stoves could be tested more rigorously and test data could be shared with the participants.

The core problem is that most consumers do not operate wood stoves well and many use unseasoned wood.  In addition, EPA certification testing for wood stoves do not simulate how wood is burned in people’s homes.  For decades, manufacturers have been building stoves to pass that test, but not necessarily to burn cleanly in homes.  This workshop addressed that by testing with cordwood that was not fully seasoned, capturing some start-up emissions in the test and assessing how automation can reduce operator error.  At Brookhaven, stoves were tested at four parts of their burn cycle: warm start, steady state 1, hot reload and steady state 2. The current EPA stove certification test uses seasoned 2x4s and 4x4s and only tests for emissions after the start-up period, once the stove is hot.

Automated stoves, where computers, not consumers, adjust the air-to-fuel ratio, cannot be tested by EPA test methods so they are not able to enter the US marketplace.   A major goal of the Workshop was to start designing an alternative test method to the EPA’s method, so that automated stoves can be tested and become certified in the US, as they already are in Europe. Tom Butcher, a senior scientist at Brookhaven Lab, hosted one of the public webinars during the week on that topic.

Rankings: The judges gave double weight to emissions and efficiency, as they did in the 2013 Wood Stove Decathlon, because of the importance of those values.  This year, the judges decided not to judge affordability since most of the stoves were prototypes or technologies designed to be integrated into other stoves and ultimate costs and pricing was too speculative. Each of the 10 judges scored each stove on innovation and market appeal.  The other three criteria were based on lab tests.
“We want to congratulate the MF Fire team – and all the teams – for participating in a process of sharing innovation, ideas and test results,” said John Ackerly, coordinator of the event and President of the Alliance for Green Heat.  “These stoves have many of the solutions to excessive smoke from modern-day wood stoves and are challenging the EPA and the stove industry, to catch up with new technologies and new opportunities,” Ackerly said.

The Wittus team with the Twinfire.
While MF Fire stove, the Mulciber, had the highest combined score, several of the other stoves stood out in key areas.  The German Twinfire, designed by the Wittus team, had the second highest overall efficiency, at 74%, and one of the lowest emission rates on a test run.  Its automated air regulation enabled the stove to perform consistently well at different part of the burn cycle and it received the highest score for consumer appeal, for its downdraft flame into a lower chamber.  
The VcV, wired to monitor
temperature in key spots
The VcV, a New Zealand mechanical device that operates without any electricity, achieved the highest average efficiency, at 82% based in part on the lowest average stack temperature at 167 degrees (F), and the lowest emission rate on one of its tests.  It also received the second highest marks for innovation.  This was the only stove that did not require electricity and will be very affordable. Three out of four tests were very, very good, but on one the hot reloads, something happened and that reduced its overall numbers, and took it out of contention for first or second place.  This device has undergone extensive R&D and is one of the entries that is closest to being ready for the market.

The Catalus Ventus by ClearStak, received the highest score of all for CO reduction, and the second

The ClearStak team with the
Catalus Ventus

highest for emissions.   It was a highly innovative entry, employing dual cyclones, a pre-heated, continuously engaged catalyst and a fabric filter.  Its sensors and controller kept the oxygen rates incredibly steady, within half a percentage point. The technology could be integrated into a new stove, or added on to an existing stove. The designers did not try to optimize efficiency, which impacted their overall score.   

The Kleiss, ready for testing.
The Kleiss arrived at the competition with the hallmarks of an innovative, automated stove that could handle wet wood and nearly eliminate operator error.  The stoves sensors and algorithms were designed to maintain very hot combustion temperatures and to allow the operator to call for more of less heat, while prioritizing cleanliness.  However, the stove did not perform as expected, with secondary air contributing to primary burning with a large fuel load.   

Test results for all the stoves are available here.  (References to grams per hour are not comparable to EPA gram per hour tests since the Workshop used tougher test protocols.) A series of presentations by the stove designers about their stoves and other stove and combustion experts are also available.


The Wood Stove Design Challenge is a technology competition that also strives to bring key stakeholders together to assess and learn about new stove technology.  Primary funding came from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Osprey Foundation and the US Forest Service.  Testing support was provided by Myren Labs, Masonry Heaters Association and Testo and Wohler, two German companies who are pushing the envelope of accurate real time lab and field testing of particulate matter.  The Chimney Safety Institute of America and Olympia Chimney donated the chimney installations, and Blaze King and Woodstock Soapstone also provided support.

The 12 member Organizing Committee oversaw developing protocols, testing and scoring and included representatives from Alliance for Green Heat, Aprovecho Research Lab, Brookhaven National Lab, Clarkson University, Hearth.com, Masonry Heater Association, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Myren Labs, NYSERDA, US Forest Service and Washington Department of Ecology. The Committee is now considering options for a 2015 Stove Design Challenge.


Heated Up!

Technology Design Challenge to Promote Top Performing Pellet Stoves

Posted by Earth Stove on June 24, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , ,

A yearlong project to test and assess pellet stoves is entering its first phase this summer.  This first phase focuses on the most popular pellet stoves in North America and aims to help consumers identify the most efficient stoves and how best to operate them. The initiative is being led by the Alliance for Green […]

Photograph Album of the 2014 Collaborative Stove Design and style Workshop

Posted by Earth Stove on November 5, 2014 with No Commentsas , , , , , , ,

Ivana Sirovica, Jessica Peterson and Jeff Hallowell, from ClearStak&nbspBrookhaven Countrywide Laboratory. Rebecca raking coal mattress to put together for the next load of gas.&nbsp Thanks to John Pilger and Chimney Safety Institute of America and Olympia Chimney for donating pipe and installation! Taylor Myers showing a actual time electronic show, using bluetooth, of temperatures in […]

Collaborative Stove Design and style Workshop Announcement

Posted by Earth Stove on May 26, 2014 with No Commentsas , , , , ,

The Collaborative Wooden Stove Design Workshop to be held Nov. 4 – 7, 2014 is a gathering of stove professionals to examine, take a look at, and talk about innovative wooden stove types.&nbsp The Workshop will be held at Brookhaven Countrywide Laboratory in New York and will entail fingers-on stove testing, every day review of […]

Experts Gather in Seattle to Design Cleaner Wood Stoves

Posted by Earth Stove on February 2, 2014 with No Commentsas , , , , , ,

By John Ackerly President, Alliance for Green Heat In January I attended an amazing conference where about 60 people came together to share ideas on building cleaner, more efficient stoves.  But the conference wasn’t just about stove design; it was also about how to incentivize them, how to monitor their use, and how to deploy […]

NYSERDA offers funding for Wooden Stove Design Challenge

Posted by Earth Stove on September 7, 2013 with No Commentsas , , , , , ,

The New York Point out Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded almost $ 50,000 to assist the technical facets of the Wood Stove Layout Challenge, contest officers have declared. The function of the contest, which is run by the Alliance for Inexperienced Warmth, is to inspire engineers and companies to create a lot […]